Taking care of a baby is difficult, especially for the first time parents. If anything happens to your little one, no doubt you will panic. For any first time parents, it is hard to tell the difference between a slight runny nose and a full-blown viral attack. Hence, it is important that you watch for the signs that can determine whether your baby’s illness requires a visit to a paediatrician or not.
How to Know If Your Baby is Sick?
How often a baby falls ill may vary. As a baby’s immune system is in the developing stage, he needs extra care. Babies who are exposed to day-care environments are susceptible to more germs and therefore are prone to sickness more often. However, any baby can fall sick. Look out for the following and speak to your baby’s paediatrician immediately if the condition seems severe.
If your baby’s body temperature is 99.5° F or higher, the chances are that he may have an infection. Take your baby to a doctor in case of a fever, especially if he is under three months of age. A fever sometimes even accompanies growth milestones like teething. If your baby is teething, then having a fever is normal. Check for the signs of teething by rubbing your fingers on his gums. This way you will understand whether or not you need to take your baby to a doctor.
Usually, all newborns have a yellow trace over their skin for the first week or two because their liver is not fully developed yet. Nevertheless, you can check to see if the yellow colour appears as soon as the baby is born. Also, if the colour is on the palms or soles, consulting a doctor would be the wisest choice. You can tell the difference by pressing his sole for a couple of seconds with your thumb to see if the colour returns. See if it is yellow or pink. If it is yellow, your baby might be sick.
3. Lethargy and Increased Floppiness
Gentle stimulation is enough to rouse a baby from restfulness. A newborn remains asleep or in a state where his eyes are closed most of the day. A healthy baby’s cries are clear and loud. But if the crying turns weak or baby suddenly finds it a struggle to feed, then your baby needs help. Sluggish activity is a sure sign to watch out for, as it will let you figure out if your baby is sick.
4. Breathing Difficulty
Rapid and wild breathing that is generally higher than 60 breaths per minute can be a sign that baby needs medical attention. If breathing difficulty is accompanied by grunting sounds, weighty movements of the chest and abdominal region, and blue colouration of tongue and lips, take your baby to a medical expert. Resting rate of breathing should be counted immediately after a feed or when the baby is asleep to understand the difference.
Hypothermia is a condition that involves low body temperature, and it is a danger for infants in all climates whether tropical or hilly areas. To check if the baby is feeling cold, compare his sole’s temperature with that of his stomach. You can check this by touching baby’s sole with the posterior of your hand. If the sole appears colder, then your infant might be having a case of hypothermia. This heightens the risk of developing cold damage, and it also upsurges baby’s energy requirements. This condition is a lot more common in preterm babies than in older infants and is a more likely scenario than fever.
6. Delayed Urine and Motion
Ideally, a newborn must pass a sticky stool called meconium within the first 24 hours of his birth. He must also pass gas and urinate in the first 48 hours of being born. A healthy infant can poop between 8-12 stools per day after feeds, but it is not a cause of alarm unless the stools are unusually watery, green, or are accompanied by mucus and blood. However, if you notice any of these signs, your baby might be sick and you should take him to a doctor at earliest.
Spitting-up is very common in newborn babies. This is because the oesophageal sphincter is not fully developed in babies and allows reflux of the milk. Also, babies suck rapidly and may overfeed in a matter of minutes. This can cause them to spit-up sometimes. However, if the sickness is persistent, and the vomiting is forceful and green or brown, it requires medical attention.
8. Excessive Weight Loss
A newborn loses between 8 to 10 percent of his birth weight and steadily gains it back over the next 7 to 10 days of his life. If you notice that your baby has lost more than usual weight and is not regaining it soon enough, it could be a sign that he is sick and may require medical attention. It could also be that the baby has not learned to latch and isn’t getting enough milk.
9. Having a Fit
Seizures require immediate medical attention especially if the baby has never had a fit before, or it is stretched more than five minutes.
10. Soft Spot Change
An infant’s fontanelles should be firm to touch, and it should dip inward. A bulging or sunken fontanelle can be a sign that the baby is ill. If your baby is upright and yet the fontanelle bulges, but the baby is not crying or vomiting, then medical intervention is required.
As a parent to a newborn, you are likely to worry about his health, but if you carefully notice the above-mentioned signs, you will be able to determine whether your baby is sick or not. Being a parent is not an easy job, and of course, it will take you some time to understand about taking care of a baby but don’t panic. Always trust your instincts; if you think your baby is not well, do not hesitate in taking him to a doctor. Take care of your little one and enjoy the little moments of your life with him.
Also Read: How to Boost Baby’s Immunity?